Northamptonshire County Council’s new offices could be better utilised with third party tenants moving in to ‘help pay the bills’, according to the councillor responsible for finance.
The authority’s cabinet agreed on Tuesday afternoon to undertake market testing to examine the possibility of welcoming new parties into the building, which was recently sold to Canada Life with the council retaining a 35-year lease.
The building could also be reconfigured to create more space in areas currently occupied on the lower floor and mezzanine by LGSS Training Services and Kier WSP.
Finance cabinet member Councillor Michael Clarke said the authority’s underlying financial position was ‘like a car with the petrol tank showing empty and the oil warning light coming on as low’.
And better utilising One Angel Square is seen as one of the ways to potentially boost the council’s coffers.
Councillor Clarke said: “The primary purpose of the report is to examine how One Angel Square can be used to best maximise revenue and space and minimise cost.
“Currently One Angel Square is only two-thirds utilised. We want to adapt the building and make it a better place to work for staff, and at the same time attract third-party tenants that will help with paying the bills.”
Labour councillor Danielle Stone replied: “If we cram more and more people into One Angel Square then it will add to the stress that staff are under and it wouldn’t be a very good working environment.”
But cabinet member Cllr Dr Andy Mercer said that adding extra staff ‘wouldn’t make much difference’ as there were ‘20 ft areas with no-one near you’ in the building.
The decision formed part of a discussion on the council’s ‘corporate headquarters accommodation strategy’, which also saw the cabinet agree to the sale of County Hall on George Row.